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Product Preview: Amazon Kindle 2

Amazon's updated ebook reader gets thinner, easier to use


Amazon Kindle 2

Amazon Kindle 2

Updated February 28, 2009
The Amazon Kindle, which was reviewed here at About.com recently, is slowly accounting for an increasing number of book sales at online retailing giant Amazon.com. The company has been very happy from this and, as a result, is updating the Kindle with a new look and better features. Enter the Kindle 2, available in late February 2009 for a pricing, at the time of this story being published, of around $360.

The Amazon Kindle 2 is designed to let one browse, purchase and download ebook versions of popular books directly to the device, to be enjoyed in an experience said to look and read like real paper. The Kindle 2 draws its titles from a library of over 230,000 books and growing, with books coming from authors such as John Steinbeck, C.S. Lewis, Beverly Cleary, Martha Stewart, Terry Goodkind, and Spencer Johnson. Also available through the Kindle 2 are magazines and newspaper subscriptions, which can be auto-delivered wirelessly overnight so that the latest edition is waiting.


The Kindle 2 sports a six-inch, 600 x 800 “electronic paper” display. Text displayed on screen is said to be crisp and sharp because it works using real ink and doesn’t use a backlight. The design of this ebook reader is improved, measuring just over a third of an inch thin (0.36 inches) and weighing just over 10 ounces – comparable to being lighter than a typical paperback. It has a five-way controller which improves upon the first Kindle's control and on-screen navigation functions.

The way books get onto the Kindle 2 remains the same as with the previous model – via high speed cellular signals carried over Sprint's national 3G data network. This keeps the reader self-contained, so one doesn't have to go through the Amazon Web site to buy books. The entire library can be browsed and shopped directly from the Kindle 2 itself.

Other upgraded features of the Kindle 2 include more built-in memory to hold around 1,500 typical ebooks, battery life which lets one read for four to five days on one charge with wireless on or for over two weeks with wireless turned off and instant word lookup via the built-in dictionary. Notable separately from this list is a new function which will read the text of a book aloud, flipping on-screen pages automatically as it speaks the words.

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